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Library Supporting Research Communities in Developing Countries

June 01, 2011

Terry Plum conducts a hands-on training session at the LRC.

In developing countries, libraries are often a hub of activity not only for information resources and services, but also for building foundational skills and knowledge within various user groups. With funding from an Elsevier Foundation grant, the Learning Resource Center (LRC) at Thai Nguyen University was able to substantially boost Vietnamese scholarship and scientific, technical and medical information exchange for scholars in Thai Nguyen Province and the north mountainous area of Vietnam.

The $40,000 grant, which began in April 2010, allowed the LRC to introduce hands-on training and mentoring programs, host interactive workshops, and publish a 150-page local language handbook on improving scientific writing and publishing. It also funded the implementation of an institutional repository using DSpace, open source software that enables sharing of content. Many American and Vietnamese LIS experts participated in the project. The two senior advisors - Patrick McGlamery, retired Director of Library Information Technology, University of Connecticut, and Terry Plum, Assistant Dean for Technology and GSLIS West program, Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science - took a holistic approach, advising information technologists, administrators, librarians and researchers on how to work together to boost scholarly publishing and sharing.

Post-workshop surveys and a 2011 faculty debrief confirmed that boosting collaboration between faculty and librarians to stimulate research output remains a high priority at the university. Diem Hoang, a lecturer at Thai Nguyen University and a workshop participant commented, "If only I had attended this workshop earlier. It provided me with valuable information about academic writing and international publishing, and insight into the mistakes and shortcomings I often made in contacting journals."